HR Leads Business

May 19, 2018 | Barry Lawrence, MBA, aPHR, HRCI Staff Writer

Hope is Not a Strategy: An HRCI Interview With the "Last HR Jedi"

HR Leads Business recently caught up with Mark Fogel, SPHR, GPHR, the CEO and co-founder of Human Capital 3.0. Fogel will be featured as a Mega Session Speaker at the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, June 17-20, in Chicago.

In a galaxy not so far away, Fogel describes himself as "an HR Jedi master" who is on tour to spread the gospel of being brave and standing up to change the lives of others thru great HR practices." Here is a quick interview with Fogel on his mission to give back to the HR community, the value of certification and the Last HR Jedi Tour 2018.

So, Mark, can you tell us a little about who you are and what you’re doing?Fogel

MF: I am a former CHRO and currently consult, teach MBA courses and write for a few sites. I have been a regular speaker at SHRM national conferences on a variety of topics for more than a decade. My Last HR Jedi Tour is a series of presentations at four different SHRM conferences, including the conference in Chicago. I am all about HR acting and being assertive. So, my writing and presenting reflects my personality and attitude. I believe hope is not a strategy, you must create and execute on one for HR to be a true asset to your organization.

You are a former CHRO of some large organizations. How did you get into speaking and blogging?

MF: It started in 2002 when I did a couple of editorials for WorldatWork in their Workspan magazine and did my first major talk at their Annual Reward’s conference in Orlando that same year. I caught the speaking and presenting bug and have been doing both ever since. My time was limited in the beginning. However, I had time on airplanes to put my thoughts to paper and to strategize presentations. I have done traditional print magazine pieces over the years and started blogging in 2007. My conference schedule was two or three a year until 2015 when I was able to double that to half a dozen annually. Its hard to get away even for even a single day when you have a responsible role in an organization. With my consulting I can now sprinkle in a few more dates each year.

Your SHRM topic is: The Performance Review Dilemma: To Continue, Change or Eliminate — What’s an HR Practitioner to Do? Some say performance reviews are dead. What do you think?

MF: I think they are far from dead and probably will always be around. Organizations need processes to keep folks in check regarding promotions, compensation, and evaluating quantity and quality of work. Personally, I would like to ditch them or make them simple enough to do on the back of a napkin. Giving regular feedback is the key, something we all know but don’t do very well. I will expand on that during my presentation in Chicago.

Your other topic is: The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Side of HR Part 2. What’s that about?

MF: It’s about standing up to senior executives and dealing with unethical and illegal scenarios. Unfortunately, there is plenty of material to pull from. In fact, I have already revised my slide deck twice this year as new issues and individuals pop up in the news almost weekly.

Let’s talk certification (we see you’ve had your SPHR for 16 years and your GPHR for 12). What is your take on staying certified?

MF: I have always felt it was important to show you possess a body of knowledge with certification. When I started doing strategic and global work in the early 2000s, I had very few avenues to turn to. HRCI certifications were the perfect solution. Since then I have influenced my HR teams to pursue certification as well. In fact, I have taught the SPHR/PHR prep course a couple of times. Additionally, in one of my recent roles heading an HR function, I provided a free study group to my team members who were pursuing their certification.

You’re a life-long learner and an Adjunct Professor of Distinction at Adelphi University on Long Island. Tell us why you are so focused on learning?

MF: My mom was an educator and instilled in my brother and me the importance of education from childhood to adulthood. We both pursued postgraduate degrees, and both had the opportunity to teach and give back. I love the classroom and that moment when a student "gets it." I am always reading and looking for new and interesting ideas to apply to the HR community.

We all give back in different ways. I prefer giving my spare time to learning and educating our next generation of HR leaders.

If your going to SHRM18 in Chicago, you don’t want to miss Fogel’s presentations. His discussion on performance reviews begins at 7 a.m. on Monday, June 18. His Empire Strikes Back presentation is on the Smart Stage at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19. (Times and locations are subject to change.)